Trip Ideas

Plan the Ultimate Friends Getaway to North Georgia Wineries

Tips for where to eat and drink, what to do and where to stay on your next getaway with friends.

  • Chateau Elan Winery & Resort

    Erica Key, eatingwitherica.com

As the weather warms, we can think of nowhere better to spend a few days with friends than at Georgia's wineries and vineyards. With many grouped around the North Georgia mountains, including Dahlonega and Helen, you can sample a wide variety of Georgia wines without traveling very far. Georgia wineries have more than just wine tasting on offer! The region has attractions to keep you entertained in between winery visits.

Where to Eat and Drink

Let’s be honest: you’re here for the wine. And there’s plenty of it, but the food is just as good!

Wineries with Restaurants

Photo Credit: Montaluce Winery

Le Vigne At Montaluce Winery, Dahlonega

Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Le Vigne is what you might expect from a top-rated city restaurant but surrounded by vines. The menu features steaks and seafood.

marc at Chateau Elan, Braselton

This chic French-inspired bistro was recently renovated on Chateau Elan’s campus. Try the Georgia shrimp and grits, local pulled pork sandwich and avocado toast to share for the table. Pair with any one of the winery’s bottles. It’s one of many onsite restaurants at the winery.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery, Dahlonega

There’s so much to love about this award-winning winery tucked on a hillside in North Georgia with one of the best restaurants around, especially for Sunday brunch, which has live music.

Restaurants near Wineries

Picnic Cafe on the square in Dahlonega

The Picnic Cafe and Dessertery, Dahlonega

Grab breakfast or lunch, coffee or dessert at this favorite student hangout on the square. Biscuits and egg sandwiches are the best way to start the day, or you can enjoy soups and salads before heading out to the nearby wineries.

The Smith House, Dahlonega

Set in an 1800s home, the family-style eatery is where you go to line your stomach before a day of tastings. Go with friends to share fried chicken, collard greens and corn muffins for lunch or dinner.

 

No one will leave hungry after a family-style meal at The Dillard House.

The Dillard House, Rabun Gap

Another family-style restaurant, The Dillard House dates back to 1917 and serves a daily-changing menu of country fried steak and fried green tomatoes.

Grapes & Beans, Clayton

It started as a wine shop and coffee shop, but is now a restaurant that focuses on local and seasonal ingredients. They have vegetarian entrees as well as soups and salads.

Bernie's Restaurant, Sautee Nacoochee

A mother-daughter duo that are classically trained runs this cozy restaurant that has top-notch dishes for lunch and dinner, like steak au poivre and roasted duck. This restaurants also serves wine from nearby vineyards.

 

Hofer's of Helen, Helen

If you only make it to one restaurant in Helen, let it be this one. It’s busy all day, starting with the pastries served at breakfast and continuing into pastrami sandwiches for lunch.

Other Wineries

There are so many wineries in Georgia that it’s nearly impossible to see them all in one trip, so plan based on where you’re staying. Here are a few to get you started, and you can find a complete list in the Georgia Wine Flavor Tour. Set a designated driver in advance, or book a trip with VIP Southern Tours - Wine Tasting Tours, a wine tour company.

Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris, Georgia

Crane Creek Vineyards, Young Harris

The stunning grounds are what makes this cozy winery so unique. Their lineup of wines includes apfelwein apple wine, seyval blanc, Villard Noir rose, Hellbender Red and Sweet Sally, named for the vineyard’s loyal furry companion.

 

Currahee Vineyard & Winery in Young Harris, Georgia

Currahee Vineyard & Winery, Toccoa

Named for the nearby mountain, the award-winning lineup of wines include the Blanc du Bois and muscadine styles. They’re open for tastings throughout the week and offer live music on Sundays.

 

Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, Braselton

The closest winery to Atlanta, Chateau Elan offers tours of its production area and tastings of their traditional and muscadine wines.

 

Cavender Creek Vineyards in Dahlonega, Georgia

Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery, Dahlonega

Opened in 2015, this winery is made up of rustic buildings and is home to donkeys and dogs. The tasting room pours their award-winning reds.

 

Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery in Dahlonega, Georgia

Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery, Dahlonega

The first family farm winery in the state has 184 acres as well as a tasting room with a cherry wood bar serving from their selection of reds, whites and muscadine varieties. If weather allows, soak up some sun on the patio or indulge in chocolate pairings.

 

Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega, Georgia

Montaluce Winery, Dahlonega

Inspired by those of Tuscany, Montaluce offers free tours and tastings of their reds, whites, sweets and sparkling styles along with mead.

 

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery in Dahlonega. Photo by Caroline Eubanks

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery, Dahlonega

The tasting room overlooks the mountains and is the perfect place to sample the dry whites, dry roses, reds, semi sweet wines, port and sparkling wines.

 

Photo Credit: Yonah Mountain Vineyard

Yonah Mountain Vineyards & Winery, Cleveland

Sit in the shadow of the namesake mountain, which is used as the winery’s logo. Sample the chardonnay, merlot, malbec, pinot noir and sauvignon blancs in the sun-soaked tasting room. The wine cave tour is what makes Yonah Mountain completely unique, the only known one in the state.

 

The Cottage Vineyard & Winery in Cleveland, Georgia

The Cottage Vineyard & Winery, Cleveland

Surrounded by fields, you’ll quickly see why The Cottage has been named one of the country’s best. Sample syrah, viognier and rose styles.

 

Fainting Goat Vineyards and Winery in Jasper, Georgia

Fainting Goat Vineyards and Winery, Jasper

Named for the goats that live on the property, the Pickens County winery offers red, white, rose and sweet varieties named for different elements of American history.

 

12 Spies Vineyards & Farm in Rabun Gap, Georgia

12 Spies Vineyards & Farm, Rabun Gap

The small family-run vineyard still bottles their selections by hand. Visit their tasting room for samples and live music.

 

Hightower Creek Vineyards in Hiawassee, Georgia

Hightower Creek Vineyards, Hiawassee

Inspired by their surroundings, the reds, whites and roses have names like Dueling Banjos, Deliverance and Red Clay.

What to Do

In addition to wineries, there is plenty to explore with friends. In addition to those mentioned below, groups can go hiking, ziplining, tubing and apple picking. And don’t forget about shopping in downtown Dahlonega and the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville!

Attractions

Discover the breadth of folk art at the Folk Pottery Museum in Sautee, Georgia

Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, Sautee Nacoochee

Learn about the area’s history with pottery, starting with Native American traditions to the present uses in the arts.

Hardman Farm State Historic Site, Sautee Nacoochee

The 173-acre residence was built in the 1870s in the Italianate style. It sits across from a Native American mound and has a number of the original furnishings.

Chestatee Wildlife Preserve, A North Georgia Zoo, Dahlonega

Rescued animals — including Siberian tigers, emu, elk and even a grizzly bear — call this North Georgia facility home.

Babyland General Hospital, Cleveland

This unusual attraction honors the Cleveland native that created the Cabbage Patch dolls. Here, you can learn about the company and adopt a doll of your own.

Spas

Photo Credit: Brasstown Valley

Equani Spa at Brasstown Valley Resort, Young Harris

Pamper yourself with a treatment from this sanctuary in wine country. The resort’s spa offers facials, massages and Cherokee-inspired rituals.

The Spa at Chateau Elan, Braselton

The European-style spa is located inside a mansion on the property with facials, massages and manicures as well as fitness facilities.

Where to Stay

Here’s a place to stay for every group, from rustic cabins in the woods to luxury resorts with wineries onsite.

Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia

Wineries with Onsite Accommodations

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton has many rooms of varying styles, all well located within the resort’s amenities.

Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris has the Vine Keeper’s Cottage, which is popular with wedding parties. They have a second cottage nearby for larger groups.

Cabin-in-the-Vines Guesthouse at Cavender Creek in Dahlonega boasts an 1820s hand-hewn log cabin where guests can stay the night.

Montaluce Winery rents out villas that overlook the vineyards.

Sylvan Valley Lodge and Winery in Sautee Nacoochee was originally a bed and breakfast with king or queen beds, but now offers its own fairy-inspired wines.

 

Accommodations near Wineries

Lucille's Mountain Top Inn & Spa in Sautee Nacoochee

Lucille's Mountain Top Inn & Spa in Sautee Nacoochee is a cozy bed and breakfast with views of the mountain.

Georgia State Parks are a great place to stay when visiting wine country with friends. Unicoi State Park & Lodge in Helen is perfect, especially for their cabins made from old wine vats.

Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris is a luxurious option with a spa, stables, restaurants and a golf course.


Caroline Eubanks is a freelance writer, travel blogger and film geek from Atlanta. She writes about travel in the South and beyond for BBC Travel, Afar, AAA, and her websites, This Is My South and Caroline in the City.

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